School Improvement

Ofsted Inspection Data - March 2017

By Jane Sowerby on 02 Jul 2017


The latest Ofsted inspection data for maintained schools and academies is out.

The level of good and better outcomes is marginally up on last year (75% from 73%); there are fewer conversions to full inspections (29% from 35%), but the number of schools then falling to a less than good judgement has increased (60% from 46%); and there are 97 primary and secondary schools that have not been judged to be good or better in any inspection since 2005.

The mix of schools inspected this year is a much stronger group than those inspected last year; 70% had been judged good or outstanding at their previous inspection, compared with 46% in 2015/16. The marginal increase is smaller than you might expect due to the lack of improvement in schools that require improvement (RI).

9% of schools were judged to require improvement at their most recent inspection (up from 28% in 2012) but a lower proportion of RI schools improved at their inspection this year.

There are 86 secondary schools and 165 primary which remained RI or declined to inadequate this year, 42 secondary schools (49%) and 55 primary schools (33%) have never been judged good or outstanding in any inspection since 2005. Over 35,000 secondary pupils and 18,000 primary pupils currently attend these schools.


So far this year, schools with more pupils from deprived areas are more likely to receive a higher leadership and management grade than overall effectiveness grade. In more affluent areas these two judgements are broadly in line with each other. Overall effectiveness grades are 11 percentage points lower in areas of deprivation.

Additionally, schools with less deprived pupils are more likely to retain their good grade than schools with higher levels of deprivation.


Fewer schools are improving from good to outstanding in a converted inspection – 13% of previously good schools compared with 28% in 2015/16.

A similar proportion of both primary and secondary schools are declining on conversion, 61% and 62% respectively. Last year a higher proportion of secondary schools than primary schools declined following a converted short inspection.


There has been little change in the proportion of schools graded outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate. 89% of schools were good or outstanding at their most recent inspection (90% primary, 79% secondary). There is a slight increase in the proportion of good or outstanding secondary schools due to a one percentage point increase in the proportion judged outstanding and a one percentage point decrease in the proportion judged RI.


There are 350 pupil referral units in England (fallen by 50 since 2012). The proportion of good judgements at their most recent inspection has increased with more moving to good from RI. The proportion of inadequate or outstanding has been fairly stable. This means that the proportion currently of good or better PRUs is broadly in line with all state-funded schools (89%).


Almost 90% of recently judged inadequate schools have been inspected within the last 18 months and 95% of recently judged RI schools have been inspected in the last two and a half years. 95% of good schools have been inspected within the last five years.

More than half of outstanding primary and secondary schools have been inspected in the last six years, but 8% were inspected as long ago as 2006/7.

The government is consulting on short inspections up until 18 August.


If you haven’t read HMCI’s latest speech (23 June) it is well worth a read. The message is very welcome, education is about more than just accountability measures (important as they are) and schools must be providing a broad and balanced curriculum. The message is clear, if you insist on a strict diet of only maths and English, teaching to tests and gaming the system, Ofsted will find you out in their new role of “balancing the accountability system” and counteracting “some of the inevitable pressure created by performance tables and floor standards. Rather than just intensifying the focus on data…”

Additionally, Ms Spielman plans to expand Ofsted’s research function and add value by aggregating insights, triangulating its findings with existing research and evidence, and producing robust analysis

I have already come across inspections in schools this term where senior leaders and year six teachers have been asked to prove that the year six curriculum is not just about English and maths and practise tests. So I look forward to more focus on the curriculum and how it meets the wider needs of pupils and more nuanced Ofsted judgements.

Authored by Jane Sowerby

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